ASSOCIATION SOLICITS SUPPORT TO ADDRESS HOUSING INADEQUACIES IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
The Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) has called for support to address the housing inadequacies in the Nigerian Universities.
The Chairman of the association, Prof. Debo Adeyewa made the call at a One-Day High-Level Policy Dialogue on Pro-Poor PPP Housing Programme in Abuja on Tuesday.
Adeyewa, who was represented by Prof. Decent Sheni, the Alternate Chairman of the association, said the major challenge facing students’ accommodation was paucity of funds.
According to him, students from lower income backgrounds, who are unable to afford the high cost of decent apartments now squat in shantytowns and indecent environment.
“The problem of housing inadequacies is very worrisome. In universities, we are unable to provide accommodations because of paucity of funds of the policy of N90 of bed space by the Federal Government.
“We have not been able to generate enough funds to address the accommodation issues in our universities.
“In this dialogue, we will address issues considering the fact of accommodation and bed spaces.
“This is because inadequate accommodation has led to squatting, outstretch of facilities, high maintenance cost etc.”
He added that students were left with the options of getting accommodation outside the campus, which invariably led to some associated vices like kidnapping, drug abuse, prostitution and gang rape.
He called on stakeholders to begin to have a rethink on how to provide a better future for the students.
He said that the framework that would make the housing strategies workable should be considered to give the youths a hope for the future.
Also, Prof. Michael Faborode, Secretary General, Committee of Vice- Chancellors (CVC) said the housing problems had affected the academic sector.
Faborode said there was no university that could provide more than 40 per cent accommodation for its students and hence, hostels had become overcrowded and bunking has made life and living herculean for students.
According to him, the basic needs of human beings are food, shelter and clothing.
“There is no university today that provides more than 40 per cent of accommodation for students.
“The CVC is concerned about housing as much as we are concerned about the education system.
“The housing inadequacies, unexpected and unfortunately, also extends to hostel accommodation for undergraduates and indeed students in all Nigerian institutions of higher learning.
“We have witnessed and indeed continue to witness the degeneracy of our undergraduates and youths into cultism, drug abuse, yahoo-yahoo, robbery, kidnapping and other nefarious criminality that are gradually taking over our nation.
“The CVC with the coordinating collaboration amongst the 153 universities in Nigeria has decided to take a lead by offering a platform to identify and promote a possible and promised solution.”
In a presentation titled: “Let us Build for Nigeria, Let us Build for All” Dr Pascal Onyemaechi, a researcher and initiator of the programme, said there was an urgent need to address the housing inadequacies in the country.
Onyemaechi said the state of shantytowns should be upgraded as well as provision of low income students hostels in Nigeria should be looked into to allow them to live a meaningful life.
He said that housing and home ownership was key to a sustainable development of any society, while calling on Nigeria to take a clue from China and India to develop the housing sector of the country.
He added that if home ownership rises to 65 per cent, then Nigeria would be a better country.
The one-day dialogue on affordable housing is aimed at offering a framework that is capable of solving the escalating housing challenges of low income earners as well as providing accommodation for indigent students.
It has in attendance high profile personalities from the educational sector, donor agencies, policy makers in the housing sector, public and private administrators of universities and members of international communities.